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The trial of 14 people in connection with a protest at the defence company Raytheon in Derry is to begin at Belfast Crown Court on Tuesday May 4th. Solidarity pickets are being planned to coincide with the court hearings outside of the Laganside Court complex.
The nine women and five men aged between 25 and 66 are facing criminal charges after they used Non Violent Direct Action to access the Raytheon Software plant in Derry, in an attempt to disarm the mainframe computer.
The 9 women are now facing charges of Burglary, Criminal Damage and Assault. The last charge is perplexing to most as there were no circumstances during which this can be construed to have happened. During the “ raytheon 9” trial similar charges of Affray had been brought and later dropped amid speculation that a security guard had been pressured by police to make a statement that he later withdrew.
Judge Desmond Marrinan ordered the trial to be moved because the courtroom in Derry could not cater for the 14 defendants, 28 counsel and jurors.
Raytheon are the world's largest manufacturer of missiles and the world's fifth largest weapons manufacturer. Until they left in February 2010 (thanks to all the action taken against them), Raytheon's Derry software plant developed the firmware for transponders, targeting software and other crucial guidance system-related work for weapons.
The action on Monday12 January 200 9, over which the 14 are now facing charges, had originally been planned by 9 women in direct response to the Israeli bombing of Gaza. The 9 women went in on the Monday morning after the Israeli bombardment continued unabated after it had dashed hopes for a cease-fire over the previous week-end.
Also facing charges are 5 men who were arrested during action in support of the 9 women who got into the raytheon plant. All 5 men are charged with “Obstructing Police”, one is being charged with criminal damage, and one with “Personating a Police Officer”. Two of the men are also being charged with Assaulting a police officer after an incident, filmed and broadcast by the BBC, during which a pregnant woman was assaulted by a police officer.
The 14 accused are:
Helen Deery, Sharon Meenan, Betty Doherty, Diana King, Goretti Horgan, Róisín Barton, Julia Tor Rojo, Jackie McKenna, Róisín Kelly, James King, Ciaran Gallagher, Brian McFadden, Rory Mac Dermott and Eoin McMonagle. After the arraignment on Monday, it is anticipated the trial will begin in ernest in April or May.
At the time of the action, the PSNI undertook to investigate raytheon for complicity in war crimes. There is no evidence that this investigation is underway. At the raytheon 9 trial, evidence came to light which provides basis for legal action to be taken against Raytheon, say legal experts. “Like the raytheon 9 trial, we intend to turn the tables on Raytheon and put them on trial.” One of the accused Sharon Meenan said “We will doing it in court here, and later when we pursue the corporation legally. It is, of course, them who are the real criminals”
Related indymedia article from Jan 200 9:
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